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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: CA Real Estate
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I have experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses, and other individuals in real estate matters.
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California Real Estate Attorneys Only PleaseMy contractor

Customer Question

California Real Estate Attorneys Only PleaseMy contractor came to have me discuss adding fascia boards to my contract for $2800 (too much). There was shouting and disagreement and I was upset; everyone was upset. I signed it. They said I had to sign twice. The second paper I signed is sloppy (it looks like $2650 or $2850) and I thought it was the same thing. It wasn't the same thing. It was to:a) add insulation to the flooring which was just going in;
b) do the insulation and drywall in the garage; and
c) install any lighting which I supply materials for.The flooring did go in with the insulation in the floor (some special insulation thing under the laminate). But the other work was not begun and it has been longer than three days. I said--at that meeting CLEARLY and have said before and since that I do not want them to do the garage and I do not want them to do the lighting because their price was too high. I mistakenly signed their addendum that says that. Here is a key point. They put the dates on the two addendums April 19 and April 20 (but they were signed at the same sitting). So I think they were trying to trick me. The flooring went in with the Eco-foil insulation; but the drywall and the lights I have not allowed them to do because I don't want them to do so and I have told them this.Do I have to pay the second addendum and can I get out of it?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: CA Real Estate
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.
Dear Customer,I am sorry to learn of this situation.As a starting point, the contract that you signed is going to be assumed to be valid and enforceable (documents that we sign are assumed to have been read, understood, and agreed to).However, this does not mean you are without remedy here. Based on what you have posted, it appears that this contractor is engaged in unfair business practices. You can try filing a complaint with the California Contractor's Licensing Board (they can facilitate resolving your complaint, but they also review consumer complaints and can take action against a contractor's business license if they find evidence of unfair dealings): http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Consumers/Filing_A_Complaint/If this fails, you can also sue the contractor in small claims court for "fraud in the inducement" (small claims court is relatively informal so you do not need to get overly specific in how you phrase your claim, but the idea of this cause of action is that the defendant misrepresented a material fact with the intention that the plaintiff (you) would enter into the contract). If the court agrees with you, the contract will be deemed "voidable" and you (as the injured party) will have the option to either enforce the contract or to void it.The California Courts website has an excellent self help site, complete with all of the forms you will need to file your case: http://www.courts.ca.gov/1007.htm
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Another thing the contractor did is he came to my house with the representative and demanded I spend $4000 more on and additional layer of wooden sheathing for the roof because the city inspector said so. I said I was there at the inspection and the city inspector did not say so. They yelled and got loud and put a lot of pressure on me and I kept telling them I was there and he didn't say that (I had already paid for sheathing with them and it was IN the contract). So I walked their foreman from up on the roof, into my living room and he told them No, that is not what he said but that my roof needed a second layer of felt (which costs maybe $100 for the whole roof--it is $16 a roll for 400 sq feet). They gave up on that but then they told me that I had to pay for the sheathing that they had given me and that they hadn't yet charged me. I showed them the contract, where I had been charged for it already. I did pay for something else with them then but I also feel like I was pressured into it and I was so emotionally distraught that --at that moment, that is when they gave me two forms to sign for something I sort of agreed to and a second form: "Here and sign this also" which was additional work that I was verbally telling them at the same time that I didn't want them to do (the garage and the lights). So they seem to be trying to defraud me as much as possible and as often as possible. Currently, the job is in the second week and they have left my personal things outside in the rain, covered in sawdust, (I documented it to them via email and kept photos) and left my house with all my personal things all over the place, then they left a dead compressor in my yard that is leaking, as well as a giant pile of trash, even though they know I am still living in my house all this time.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.
You can use the same two remedies above (the CSLB complaint process, and the small claims court) to recover money damages against them.Small claims court allows you to recover up to $10,000.00 in damages (if your damages exceed this amount you can sue in unlimited or limited civil courts - these are a little more complicated and take longer, most parties will retain a lawyer for this kind of suit).If you are trying to get them to simply stop working on the contract and you want a new contractor to take over, you can try mediation with them (use of a third party neutral - such as a lawyer or a retired judge) to help you negotiate a resolution. Your local bar association can provide you with referrals. But short of coming up with a negotiated resolution, your remedy would be having to go to court and suing them for breach of contract (above).
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have another question or two that are related to this above. Sorry I have been buried in stress over this whole thing.1) I have noticed that the contractor has done shoddy work in certain areas (as well as all of the above stuff I mentioned). When he is finished, I will pay him (home equity loan is already approved) and sign over the loan docusign and be done with it. I will pay since I don't want any liens to have to remove (or subcontractor liens). Since he didn't file a permit and has committed other serious wrongs, as well as this shoddy work, may I simply file against his bond without allowing him a second chance to re-do the work? Or do I have to inform him in writing and wait to see if he repairs the shoddy work?2) What is a conditional release of liens? How do I make sure these guys don't file a lien or their subs don't file a lien? The reason I ask is, this contractor is dishonest and it is obvious.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My construction lender will not do joint checks.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
09 May 2016 10:32
I have another question or two that are related to this above. Sorry I have been buried in stress over this whole thing.1) I have noticed that the contractor has done shoddy work in certain areas (as well as all of the above stuff I mentioned). When he is finished, I will pay him (home equity loan is already approved) and sign over the loan docusign and be done with it. I will pay since I don't want any liens to have to remove (or subcontractor liens). Since he didn't file a permit and has committed other serious wrongs, as well as this shoddy work, may I simply file against his bond without allowing him a second chance to re-do the work? Or do I have to inform him in writing and wait to see if he repairs the shoddy work?2) What is a conditional release of liens? How do I make sure these guys don't file a lien or their subs don't file a lien? The reason I ask is, this contractor is dishonest and it is obvious.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do I have the right to ask for the subcontractors and the dollar amounts so that I may pay them directly? And the materials suppliers also?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My General Contractor is dishonest and constantly shows that in our business dealings. He has nearly finished doing the roof, the floor, and insulation. So now I need to pay his subcontractors directly because I need to make sure that no liens are created. I would like to file a notice of completion and if I do--what protection does that give me?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Should I pay with a joint check or directly to the subcontractors?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.
Dear Customer,I am going to "opt out" and allow another expert to follow up with you.Please do not post any further at this time as it will delay the next expert's ability to follow up.If you need any assistance in the meantime, please contact our customer service at: http://ww2.justanswer.com/helpThank you for using our forum, and I do wish you the best of luck.Bill